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Karnataka: How many times has state been under President’s rule, Article 356 explained


New Delhi, July 19: There is a crisis in Karnataka and the Governor of the state has in the past 12 hours issued two deadlines for the government to prove its majority.

In the wake of these developments, while the coalition debates the role of a Governor in the proceedings of the legislature, Raj Bhavan has dashed off a report to the Centre about the happenings in the state.

Karnataka: How many times has state been under President’s rule, Article 356 explained

While, the Congress and JD(S) have petitioned the Supreme Court seeking clarity of their rights under the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which deals with disqualification, the BJP too may petition the court if the deadline set by the Governor is not adhered to.

In the wake of this, there is also talk that President's Rule could be imposed if the impasse continues and the coalition continues to drag the issue on despite not having a majority.

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President's Rule is the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct central government rule in the state. Article 356 of the Constitution states that in the event that a state government is unable to function according to the Constitutional provisions, the Central Government can take direct control of the state machinery.

During such rule the council of ministers is dissolved and the office of the chief minister is vacated. Further the Vidhan Sabha is either prorogued or dissolved necessitating a fresh election.

When can President's Rule be imposed:

  • A state legislature is unable to elect a leader as chief minister prescribed by the Governor of the state.
  • Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief Minister having a minority support in the house. The Chief Minister fails or will fail to prove otherwise within a time prescribed by the Governor.
  • Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house.
  • Elections are postponed due to unavoidable reasons such as war, epidemic or natural disasters.
  • Article 356 says that the president can invoke the presidents rule in a state on a report by the governor of the state if the legislature fails to abide by the constitutional norms.

How long can it be imposed:

  • If approved by both houses, the President's Rule can continue for 6 months. It can be extended for a maximum of 3 months with the approval of the Parliament which is done every 6 months.

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Imposition of President's Rule in Karnataka:

  • March 19 1971: Loss of majority ( 1 year and 1 day)
  • December 31 1977: Government dismissed inspite of CM Devraj URs enjoying majority. (59 days)
  • April 21 1989: Loss of majority of S R Bommai government. (223 days)
  • October 10 1990: Veerendra Patil government dismissed. (7 days)
  • October 9 2007: Loss of majority. (33 days)
  • November 20 2007: Loss of majority ( 189 days)

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